Water pollution is the contamination of water by foreign substances such as chemicals, pesticides, animal wastes, sewage, disease, and organic matter. There are two primary sources of water pollution, point source and non-point source pollution. Point source pollution originates from specific locations, and can bet traced to specific pipes or ditches and is generally waste or effluent from industry or sewage treatment. Non-point source pollution originates from a much broader area and is contributed to by a number of different sites that can be agricultural, mining, logging, natural (rivers scouring banks, fire sites) and urban areas. (According to the Axia College Week Six reading Freshwater Resources and Water Pollution 2007), a description of water pollution.) A major source of non-point water pollution in the urban environment is storm water runoff, in the past it was acceptable for this runoff to be channeled into the natural systems of washes, creeks, and rivers. However, this is no longer true, the Clean Water Act of 1972 and the Water Quality Act of 1987 set standards for water discharged to local surface water, and established fines for discharges that exceed the limits. (As in the Clean Water Act Forum). Additional tightening of these regulations by the Congress has increased the need for smaller communities of less than 100,000 people like our own to completely separate our storm water runoff and sanitary sewer systems. Sanitary sewer and storm water runoff need different levels of treatment and can compliment one another in collection and treatment. The high desert areas are highly dependent on agriculture, and wildlife depend on the area to survive the winter, and many migratory birds depend on the area as a flyway. All of these and the human population depend on clean water. Many older communities in the region have intermingled storm and sanitary sewer systems, either through the sanitary sewer treating both sources or overflowing to the storm sewer systems. Both of these can cause discharges to the local surface water when the system becomes overwhelmed. There are a number of things that affect storm water runoff, first being severity of storms, heavy violent storms are common in the area and can demand a large volume of processing capacity and or holding capacity. Secondly is surface porosity or how well the soil accepts and holds water or rainfall, the region is in general very porous in nature soaking up even heavy storms with little runoff. Native plant life in the area is even absorbent and takes up water quickly during storm events. Humans are responsible for almost all hard surfaces in the region, or areas that are non-porous and generate runoff; these areas include roofs, roads, parking lots, lawns, construction sites, and others. This runoff from the hard surfaces is impacted by the hard surface as well, when it crosses the hard surface it collects oils, debris like aluminum cans, paper, wood, rubber, and paper, and chemicals in the form of pesticides, and fertilizers. These pollutants then end up in the surface water, impacting fish, wild life, and humans. By treating storm runoff, we can eliminate these pollutants and actually remediate damage that has been done in the past. This is why I am presenting the following mitigation plan. This plan is primarily designed for a community of approximately 65,000 inhabitants in a western high desert foothill climate with average rainfalls of 10 to 14 inches annually. This plan is adaptable to nearly any of the Eastern Sierra slope communities in the high desert areas. Water is a precious commodity in the entire region and vital to agriculture, recreation, and wildlife. This plan could also relieve some of the stresses already caused by the diversion of water to Southern California through out the watershed. Storm Water Runoff Mitigation Plan
This plan uses advanced and simple technologies to ultimately reach a...
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Clean Water Act Forum. (n.d.) Water Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 22, 2008, from
Powicki, C. R. (1997). Constructed Wetlands: Treat Wastewater Naturally. EPRI, 16 (10),
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Sevenandt, W. (2006). Old Water Made New. Innovative project in Southern California
Combines Water Purification and Pollution Control, (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2008
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